L’ILE-BLIZARD, Quebec – The featured group of the morning – Canadian Graham DeLaet, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar – lived up to the hype, posting a total of 22 birdies on the soft, receptive greens at Royal Montreal Golf Club, and no one could catch them in the afternoon when the wind kicked up. Furyk and DeLaet matched the course record with 63s while Kuchar settled for a ho-hum 65.
“I was giving Kuch a bunch of crap about being the schlub in the group shooting a 65,” Furyk said. “Lord knows I’ve taken abuse from him over the years. So nice to get one back.”
At the halfway point, Furyk and Tim Petrovic, the last man to get into the tournament as the eighth alternate, are setting the pace at 10-under 130.
Here are 5 Things to know from the second round in Canada:
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1. FURYK ON FIRE: Jim Furyk lit up Royal Montreal in the morning. His 7-under 63 included four straight birdies from Nos. 11-14. He got it rolling at the 11th by snaking in a 54-foot triple-breaker.
“It was probably going to go 4 or 5 feet by and kind of crashed in the center of the hole,” Furyk said. “So it was an extra bonus to get a three there.”
So far, Furyk has been a ball-striking machine. He leads the field with 33 of 36 greens in regulation (91.7 percent).
As noted above, it was a good day for Furyk’s entire group.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever played in a group where we shot 63, 63, 65,” he said.
Furyk, a two-time RBC Canadian Open champion, has six top-10s and two runnerup finishes this season. He is seeking his 17th Tour title and first win since the 2010 Tour Championship.
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2. PETRO GOLF: Tim Petrovic, the onetime pizza deliveryman, is delivering the goods this week. He followed up a first-round 64, his lowest opening round of his career, with a 66 for a share of the 36-hole lead. When asked if he remembered the last time he was at the top of the leaderboard, he responded: “It’s been a while, but last time I got myself into position like this I think I won New Orleans (2005), but I kind of came from behind.”
It turns out it truly has been a while since he held a share of the 36-hole lead – the 2003 Waste Management Open, in fact.
Petrovic said he has seen signs of a breakout week based on his ball striking. “I’m trying to get back to what I do well,” he said. “I call it ‘Petro Golf.’ Hit it in the fairway. Hit it on the green. Make the putt. It sounds simple but I’ve gotten away from that.”
It’s still a work in progress for Petrovic, who has missed the cut in his last five Tour starts. He missed 13 greens in the second round but thanks to just 24 putts, he saved par 12 times and ranks first in scrambling.
“It’s nice to be here on the weekend for a change,” he said.
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3. AQUAMAN RETURNS: Woody Austin knew the question was coming. It was the 2007 Presidents Cup where he famously lost his balance and fell backwards into a pond that borders the leftside of the 14th hole at Royal Montreal while trying to play a shot inside the hazard stakes. Two days later, he sported a diving mask as he walked up the fairway and everyone laughed.
On his first trip back, he was asked if he had any fond memories of that day? “I wouldn’t say fond,” he said. “I wouldn’t say funny either because I was the brunt of all the jokes.”
It’s a moment that he has never lived down. “Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, ‘Where are your goggles?’ Not one.
“It doesn’t bother me. The part that does is that people really think you’d carry goggles around in your golf bag. Some people really think that. That’s the part that fascinates me. Prime example was today. I go to shake my scorer’s hand to introduce myself and I said, ‘Hi, I’m Woody’ and she goes ‘Did you bring your goggles?’ Didn’t even tell me her name. Like I’m supposed to carry them in my bag.”
Austin, 50, has struggled this season, but he has a pair of pars to show for his efforts at No. 14 and made the cut at 2-under 138.
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4. CINK’S SON CADDIES: Stewart Cink enlisted a new caddie this week: his 17-year-old son, Reagan, is making his caddie debut.
“It felt like the right time,” Cink said. “I didn’t really ask his opinion. I just told him he was caddying.”
Reagan said the bag was a little heavy but he’s enjoying the experience of seeing his dad work from inside the ropes. And he’s helped his share. On 15, Cink was deciding between wedge and gap wedge on his approach.
“Reagan reminded me that earlier in the round I had a similar shot and got fooled by it,” Cink said. “He said, ‘It’s definitely the wedge,’ and I knocked it to 5 feet.”
But Cink missed the birdie putt. “Should’ve asked me for the read,” Reagan said with a sly smile.
“I should’ve asked for the read,” dad conceded.
But with rounds of 68-69, Cink will be around for the weekend. So will there be a little something for the effort come Sunday for Reagan?
“We’ve got a deal going,” Cink confirmed. “He knows what to expect.”
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Scott Piercy, the 2012 RBC Canadian Open champ, rallied with a second-round 65 to make the cut in his first start since the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February. Piercy was sidelined after undergoing surgery on his right arm. What did he miss most during his layoff? “Making money!”… Patrick Rodgers made his fourth Tour cut in five starts since turning professional in June … Oliver Goss belted the longest measured drive of the week, a 370-yard moonshot at the third hole … According to the Tour’s strokes gained putting stat, Graham DeLaet had the best putting day (+5.839)…Graeme McDowell carded a bogeyfree 65 and trailed by 3. “I’ll take three shots back into any weekend, anywhere, anyplace,” he said…One year after withdrawing from the tournament to attend the birth of his first child, Hunter Mahan is exiting earlier than expected with a missed cut (68-75—143) … Others who failed to make the weekend include: Luke Donald, John Daly, David Duval and Erik Compton.